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[291]

On the 18th Colonel Sale, General Bragg's military secretary, brought me the following letter from that officer, dated the 12th:

General:
In previous communications it has been intimated to you that the President desired a forward movement by the forces under your command; and it was suggested that such preparations as are practicable and necessary should b1e commenced immediately.

I now desire to lay before you, more in detail, the views of the Department in regard to the proposed operations, and to inform you of the means intended to be placed at your disposal. Of course but a general outline is necessary, as matters of detail must be left to your judgment and discretion.

It is not deemed advisable to attempt the capture of the enemy's fortified positions by direct attack, but to draw out, and then, if practicable, force him to battle in the open field. To accomplish this object, we should so move as to concentrate our means between the scattered forces of the enemy, and, failing to draw him out for battle, to move upon his lines of communication. The force in Knoxville depends in a great measure on its connection with Chattanooga for support, and both are entirely dependent on regular and rapid communication with Nashville. To separate these two by interposing our main force, and then strike and destroy the railroad from Nashville to Chattanooga, fulfills both conditions.

To accomplish this, it is proposed that you move as soon as your means and force can be collected,


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